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Christiane F (1981)

  Directed by: Uli Edel
Written by: Herman Weigel
Starring: Natja Brunckhorst, Thomas Haustein
Music by: David Bowie
Links: Christiane F on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Unexpected reality" - a review by pearly

During the eighties, there was definitely some great music being made. Most people just haven't heard most of it. Most people have, however, heard the crappy stuff that was released en masse during that heady decade of fluorescent clothing and big hairstyles. I can't say that I was as familiar with the film industry of the time as I am with the music industry, but from what I know of the films of the eighties, it looks like a similar thing was going on there too.

Think of movies during the eighties, and you're probably thinking about movies like Revenge of the Nerds (1984), or anything made by the delightful John Hughes. They're harmless fun, a bit of a release: the equivalent of a song like MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This, or Young MC's Bust a Move.

Christiane F is one of those "artsy" style movies that slipped between the cracks left in the pavement by all of these silly comedies. It also has the disadvantage of being a German language film, presumably a barrier to popularity in English speaking countries at that time (though Nena managed to do well with her song 99 Luftballoons).

Based on the true story of Christiane, this film is well-shot and acted, and interesting from start to finish. Christiane's story starts when her sister decides to go and live with her father, while Christiane is left with her mother and her mother's new boyfriend. Feeling alone, she begins to frequent the new 'Sound' disco, where she falls in love with the music of David Bowie (who has a cameo in the film, performing at a concert which Christiane attends), finds a new crowd to hang out with, and starts experimenting with drugs - all during her mid-teens.

Pretty soon, Christiane has taken her experimentation with marijuana to the next level, and she's hooked on heroin, and is prostituting herself to gather enough money for both her and her boyfriend's habits.

Natja Brunckhorst is brilliant in the title role. She is nothing but believable throughout. The film acts as a powerful warning to would-be drug dabblers (I believe it's been used as a study text in some schools) without being preachy - it just tells things like they are, and lets the viewer make up their own mind. An unexpected gem.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 10 Dec 2003

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Reader comments

  1. I agree with pretty much all that Pearly has written. This movie left me stunned. I honestly thought that they had given the kids smack to make them behave in a realistic manner. This is an honest film; the pain and suffering of the characters are a result both of their personal choices and their environment. The portrayal of heroin and the lifestyle it most often procures ranks 'Christiane F' along side the Russian film 'Come and see' for whackbang overthehead impact. Very good.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from Tom on Tue 20 Jan 2004 16:07 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.00 (1 rating)

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